Guide for Small Business DIY SEO
Looking for an SEO guide to help small businesses attract new customers? Mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing may seem like a daunting task for those who are new to it. It doesn’t have to be. Writing effective SEO content is a skill, and like other skills can be learned and developed.
“SEO copywriting is probably more of an art than a science” — Kim Kosaka, Director of Marketing, Alexa.
There is no doubt that there is a strong partnership between SEO and created content for any business. Effective SEO brings your website to the top of the search engines and ensures increased traffic to your site over competitors. However, in 2020, a high search engine ranking is not enough. To keep traffic levels to your site high, you will need to provide interesting, relevant, and helpful content to retain loyal customers and attract new ones.
Solve Problems, Improve SEO
SEO content can be in the form of lists, articles, guides, blog posts, directories, product pages, glossaries etc. In short, anything that provides a solution to a question, problem or challenge being faced by your target audience.
For example, a real estate agent might provide a list of top-rated schools and daycare in a given area. That way potential home buyers looking in a specified area who have school aged children will be drawn to that agent’s site over a competitor. Having such information readily available creates the idea that that realtor is more informed than his/her competitors. Why use a competitor when research of the area has already been done? Solving a potential client’s problem is a key factor in gaining trust. The more trust any small business has, the more customers it will attract.
Have a Clear Understanding of Customer Needs
The first step when writing any content for any business is to identify a target audience. Knowing a target audience helps direct the type of writing and content within an article. When a business knows who they are targeting, finding a problem to solve becomes simplified. For example, a roofing company may write a DIY article discussing all possible materials available to a homeowner; However, if that target audience fell within hurricane-prone areas, the problem would shift to strong, dependable, resistant roofing materials to keep a home safe. What are the questions, problems or issues that your target audience are likely to be facing? What are some keywords or key phrases that your audience might type into a search engine?
Keyword and key phrase research will help you identify the search terms most commonly used by your target audience. There are plenty of keyword search tools available online for your use. Once the most commonly searched words and phrases used by your target audience have been identified, incorporate them into your article, blog post, etc. This will more quickly get the attention of the search engines. Keep in mind that it is important to use these keywords and phrases in a manner that is natural and organic. Great content should always be written for the potential consumer and the search engine web crawlers.
“Today it’s not about ‘get the traffic’ – it’s about ‘get the targeted and relevant traffic’” — Adam Audette. Chief Knowledge Officer, RKG.
What are Long-tail Key Phrases & How do they help?
Long-tail key phrases are longer and more specific than keywords. They likely may pull in less traffic, but their conversion rate is higher due to how specific they are. Long-tail keyphrases are most effective in writing niche-based content which targets a very specific audience with very specific knowledge about a topic.
For example, your company may specialize in rare, antique books. There is a high likelihood that a search for “books sellers in my area” will not bring you to the top of the search engines, especially if your company is small or new. However, a long-tail phrase like “signed first edition books in good condition” will have a higher success rate with your target audience. Not all keywords must be key phrases, but long-tail keyphrases are very important for specific niches. Seasoned copywriters know this and are continually staying up to date with changes that may change keyword/ key phrase rules for indexing.
Define The Goal of SEO to Help Reach a Target Audience
It is important to be clear about what the goal of any given content is. If the primary goal is to increase immediate product sales, a business will need to produce product pages that are attractive, informative and easy to navigate. Writing product descriptions that are unique while still using commonly searched keywords will increase the chance of winning the buyer’s attention.
If a given product has a longer sales cycle or when dealing with professional services such as doctors, lawyers or interior decorators; copywriters for a business will need to provide content that builds trust, loyalty and brand awareness. Again, posting anything that makes your business stand out as an expert is the goal. Driving traffic to a site isn’t necessarily difficult. Keeping readers coming back requires a business to provide content that is relevant and helpful.
Poorly written content that is lacking in value to the audience will not inspire repeat visits. Similarly, content that is nothing more than an obvious sales pitch for your product will leave a bad taste in a reader’s mouth and they will be unlikely to click on your site again.
This creates a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. It is important to note that sites producing low value content run the risk of being penalized by the large search engines, thus negatively affecting page ranking. It can’t be said enough- Having great content is the key to keeping up with the competition.
“The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of a Google search” — Anonymous.
When Deciding How Often to Post, Remember That Quality Beats Quantity
How often should a business post new content? The answer depends on the resources available to get it done. Does the business in question have a reliable copywriter? Is the owner writing all of the content while juggling all of the other things on his/her plate? How much content can be completed and in what time frame?
If you are a small business and are researching and writing your own content, you will be doing well to publish new content once a week. If you are in a position to retain the services of a copywriter, you may consider posting between three to five times a week. Remember, a copywriter should be very knowledgeable on how to best use key words and key phrases to drive search engines to your site over the competition!
It is important to remember that in the quantity versus quality debate; according to Google, quality wins. Once a small business has determined what is an achievable frequency of publishing for their specific business; it may be helpful to set up a master schedule outlining when posts with different kinds of content will be released.
Planning and writing ahead will help to avoid last minute scrambles which can result in poor content. Remember though that it is important not to write content too far ahead of schedule. In today’s dynamic and ever changing business environment, a well conceived and researched article can become irrelevant and outdated very quickly.
In summary, businesses need to know the interests and challenges of a target audience. Time must be taken to research most commonly used search terms keywords. Write relevant and interesting content that naturally incorporates those keywords. Determine how often new content can be realistically published and make a schedule and stick to a schedule of releases.
“SEO is like a resume, you polish it so you have your best foot forward” — Matt Cutts.